By Matt Poshedley
The Vikings opened their season on Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Justin Jennings Memorial Invitational.
Cleveland State University’s freshmen swimmers combined for six top 10 finishes on the first night. They were led by Matt Akers.
Akers won the men’s 3-meter diving title, while sophomore Antony Styrt placed second and junior Curtis Roden finished fourth.
The success did not stop there as freshman Dominik Niedzialek had the largest finish by a Cleveland State male swimmer of the night.
Niedzialek finished third in the 200-individual medley with a time of 1:58.52. Junior Erwan Mahoudo finished 10th with a time of 2:00.52.
In the 50-meter freestyle, junior Jason van der Touw finished fourth with a time of 21.81. He was just one of four Cleveland State 50-meter freestyle swimmers to finished in the top 10.
Sophomore DJ Arslanian placed fifth with a time of 21.88, sophomore Tyler Stevenson placed ninth with a time of 21.98 and sophomore Jack MacDonald placed 10th with a time of 22.14.
As for the 500-meter freestyle, freshmen Lee Moffet was Cleveland State’s top finisher as he placed sixth with a time of 4:51.28. David Bates, in the same event, finished 14th with a time of 4:59.19.
The 200-meter freestyle relay saw the Viking men placing third as van der Touw, senior Grant Washington, Arslanian and freshman Ryan Sedlak finished with a time of 1:27.09.
“We had Ryan [Sedlak] anchor the relay and I thought he performed extremely well,” Washington said. “It was his first collegiate race and he dropped a very impressive time to help us finish third.”
Saturday, the Vikings placed third with 742 points. Van der Touw won a pair of individual events on Saturday and contributed to win a relay race as well.
Van der Touw began his impressive day by winning the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:41.51. Following that, he started the 400-meter free relay and Stevenson, MacDonald and junior Macjilton Lewis, finished the relay off to finish with a time of 3:11.09.
In the 100-meter freestyle, van der Touw kept his successful day going by claiming the top spot with a time of 47.01. He helped Cleveland State claim three of the top 4 spots in the event and six of the top 15.
The next day, Akers finished with an impressive victory as he swept the diving events at the meet. He also won the 1-meter competition with 287.25 points.
Niedzialek placed second in both backstroke events as he finished the 100-meter in 51.95 and the 200-meter in 1:54.43. Timothy Kubacki finished in the top 10 in both backstroke events and Mahoudo finished sixth in the 100-meter.
In the 100-meter butterfly, Arslanian finished second in 51.44 seconds and Washington finished ninth in the same event in 53.26 seconds.
“It felt good to get our first meet under our belt,” Washington said. “I think a lot of people were eager to go compete and race.”
Next up, the Vikings will travel to Xavier University on Thursday, Oct. 19.
“We’re putting in a lot of really good training during these two weeks,” Washington said. “Xavier is a strong team and it should be a close meet.”